Derbies are one of the best things about the game of soccer. They encapsulate the passion that accompanies the sport superbly; pre-game banter, on-the-pitch confrontations, superfluous managerial gesticulations on the sidelines and swathes of over-the-top supporter fandom in the stands.
Of course, tempers can boil over and whilst the commentators will instinctively quip that “nobody likes to see this part of the game,” we all love to see a bit of needle really, don’t we?!
These games aren’t restricted to immediate local rivalries either, as our selections this week will attest. Often a clash between two teams from completely different cities is dubbed a “derby” game. Just look at Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Newcastle vs. Sunderland, Inter Milan vs. Juventus and perhaps most famously, Manchester United vs. Liverpool.
The latter of those aforementioned games is often cited as the “most watched on the planet,” and it’s part of our selection this weekend. Trying to follow that spectacle will be Tottenham vs. Arsenal, as they lock horns in the North London derby immediately after. They’re a pair of games that will have significant connotations in the race for the Premier League title and European football.
We’ve also got a huge game in the States as MLS runs into its second week, plus a cracking double header from Germany featuring all three of the Bundesliga’s top sides. There’s a few honorable mentions too. We do spoil you lot…
All kick off times are Eastern Time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy your football!
Hull City vs. Manchester City, Saturday, March 15, 8:45AM, NBCSN: After fulfilling their commitments in the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League, Manchester City have plenty of catching up to do in the Premier League. Win all their games in hand and they’ll go back to the top of the table, so a win against Steve Bruce’s FA Cup semifinalists in Saturday’s early kickoff is an absolute must.
Aston Villa vs. Chelsea, Saturday, March 15, 1:30PM, NBCSN: Jose Mourinho’s men just keep churning out results in their quest for Premier League glory and they have the opportunity to go a whopping ten points clear of second placed Liverpool with a win at Villa Park. Paul Lambert’s side can occasionally upset the odds though, and they’ll be in high spirits after thrashing Norwich City 4-1 in their last league encounter.
Malaga vs. Real Madrid, Saturday, March 15, 3:00PM, beIN SPORTS and DishWorld: Real Madrid face the trickiest task of the triumvirate of title challengers in La Liga this weekend. Los Blancos travel to Andalusia to face Malaga, who have had a disappointing campaign to date. But with the pressure on, odd results have been known pop up. Will we see another twist in the title race here?
Aberdeen vs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Sunday, March 16, 10:30AM, online stream: The Scottish League Cup final takes place on Sunday, with Aberdeen chasing an historic cup double. Inverness CT qualified for this final after scoring a late equaliser in the semifinal with just nine men! They went on to win on penalties and will be underdogs heading into this final, due to take place at Celtic Park.